Saturday, December 31, 2016

Exposure


Exposure: A Virals Novel
By Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs

This is the fourth book in the Viral series. I continue to enjoy these books. I like the writing the stories are always interesting. This one did a great job of grabbing my interests and keeping my attention through out. But I must admit that at times I found myself questioning how possible the story line could be.  I realize that this is about a group of teenagers, who after being infected with a mutant strain of the Parvo virus, develop special abilities, so it's supposed to be surreal. It's not supposed to be realistic but they are also teenagers doing things like breaking into police stations and constantly making poor decisions which I couldn't one hundred precent get behind. So I enjoyed the book but I found this one a little less believable. I am sure I will continue follow the series to see what happens next.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Lady Susan


Lady Susan
by Jane Austen

I recently learned that their was a book written by Jane Austen that was published after her death and that I had never read. I knew I wanted to check it out because I really enjoy all of her stories.

This was a very short story and I easily finished it in one morning. It is written in letter format and I actually really enjoyed reading the letters they wrote back and forth to one another. This book was unfinished at the time of her death so the last part is basically a summary of her notes on how she planned on finishing the story. For me, this made the story fill a little incomplete. It is missing the details and emotion that is so evident in the letter part of the book. So while you learn what happens to everyone in the end I can't help but feel a little sad that I don't get to read exactly how it all came to past. That being said it was still worth reading.


On a side note I tried watching the Movie based on this story, Love and Friendship, but I just couldn't get through it. I found myself getting bored and I hated the acting. I understand it must be hard to make a movie that is based on a series of letters but I just did not enjoy what they did. When the movie I borrowed from the Library stopped working in my Blu-ray player I decided to give up and return the movie with out finishing it. But really that was just a really good reason to stop watching a movie I just couldn't get into. Even if I could find I working copy, I would not try re-watching it. So Read the book and skip the movie!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dark Matter


Dark Matter
by Blake Couch

This book is about a man, named Jason, who is torn from his life and wakes into a world where nothing is the way he remembers. In this new world he is not married, does not have a son and is famous for his work in physics. He must figure out what is real, if he wants to return to the life he remembers.

I thought this book was fascinating. I consider myself a science person and even majored in science in College, but Physics was never my strong suit. I still find some of the concepts baffling and difficult to wrap my brain around. Please tell me I'm not the only one?! Anyway, this book is full of quantum physics: Schrodinger's Cat, the multiverse, quantum superposition and all kinds of concepts that in the past I struggled to grasp. And it was Fascinating and mind-boggling tale in the very best way possible. I think the author has done a great job of making difficult concepts easy to understand and follow. I feel like I understand quantum physics so much better now.

Besides learning more about the field of quantum physics, this story was a thrilling book to read. It grabbed my attention immediately and I found myself really caring about what happened to Jason and his family. My son had surgery the other day and I really needed a book that could capture my attention enough to distract me, while I waited for him to be done. Anyone else who has waited while a loved one undergoes surgery will understand my anxiety and this book helped me get through that day, just a little easier.

It did remind me somewhat of the TV show Sliders, in a good way. The idea of endless worlds of possibilities and the struggle to find your way back home. If you find quantum physics interesting, even just a little, I think you will also enjoy reading this book.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Sapphire Rose


The Sapphire Rose
by David Eddings

While I was waiting for a book I had requested at the Library, I decided to finish The Elenium series by David Eddings. These books are so nostalgic for me and it has been really fun to re read them. It's probably been 20 years since I first read this series and I still love the characters just as much. David Eddings will always have a special place in my heart. He was my first real introduction to fantasy series and he has done such a great job of creating a cast of characters that I care about. I love the ending of this book. It always brings a smile to my face and it makes me want to read the next series, which continues the story for many of these beloved characters.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Light Between Oceans


The Light Between Oceans
by M.L. Stedman

I saw the trailer for this movie and as soon as a learned that it was based on a book, I knew I wanted to read it. This novel tells the story of a couple, who live on an Island with a lighthouse and one day discover a boat on shore with a dead man and a baby. The wife, unable to have children of her own wants to keep the baby and despite his misgivings the husband relents. Later when they return to the main land they soon learn that their decision has devastated another.

I thought this was a really interesting plot and I enjoyed reading this book. But at the same time I didn't love the story. It is such a tragic story and everyone involved, including the young child ends up suffering because of their decision to hide the truth. It just made me really sad and it didn't help that I didn't really like the wife very much. I think I was supposed to be sympathetic to her plight but I thought she was very selfish and uncaring. I mean I get that she had suffered through 3 miscarriages, which is tragic, but for me that really didn't justify her behavior.

There was a moment during my reading that I thought I was going to hate where the story was going but the ending saved it for me. I thought the ending was exactly what this story needed to make it worth my time to read.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Code



Code
By Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs

This is the third book in the Virals series and I really enjoyed this one. The Virals were pulled into a game of life and death, where they had to solve puzzles to stop a bomb from going off. I thought this book was suspenseful and it was fun reading how they were able to solve each puzzle they faced. I like the characters in this book, which always makes a book more enjoyable to read. I liked that this book was very different form the last book. I think it is great to have a series of books that can be read together but can also be read separately with out feel lost or left hanging in suspense.  I feel like this series really hits that mark. I enjoy reading these books and plan on continuing to read this series.


I also recently read the short prequel to the first book in the series.


Shock

It was a fun quick read and I really liked getting a glimpse at Tory's first experience meeting her dad and the other soon to be Virals.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Ruby Knight

You guys, reading has been so hard for me recently. I've been so tired and stressed out that I just haven't had the motivation. Which bums me out a little bit because reading is usually such a great stress reliever for me.

I did managed to finally finish the second book in The Elenium by David Eddings. I really enjoy this series and it has been fun rereading it.


The Ruby Knight
by David Eddings

I enjoyed this book just as much this time around. I do have to say that I really felt Sparhawks frustration every time they were delayed from searching for the Bhelliom. They are on such a time crunch to save the Queen that it was sad that things just seemed to drag out longer and longer. This is one of the reasons why I like David Eddings' books so much. His characters are so well developed. I feel like I really know them and what they are feeling. If they are happy or angry or sad. I laugh when they laugh. I'm feel frustrated wight along with them. I love these characters so much and could definitely read about them over and over again. They are all so unique and add so much to the story. I am definitely happy that the main object of their mission was finally completed by the end of this book and I look forward to reading about the rest of their adventures in the third book!


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Emmy and Oliver


Emmy and Oliver
by Robin Benway

This was a really sweet story about friendship, lose, new beginnings and challenges. In the story Emmy's next door neighbor and best friend is kidnapped by his dad when they are in 2nd grade. Fast forward 10 years to their senior year of high school, Oliver is found and returns home to be with his mom, who still lives next door to Emmy.

I thought this book did a great job of dealing with all the emotions that teenagers face as they grow up into adult hood. I thought the author did an especially good job dealing with the emotions and challenges someone would face finding out their dad had kidnapped them and lied for 10 years. The characters felt real and believable, which doesn't always hold true in teen fiction. I liked all the characters and enjoyed reading about their lives as they dealt with this new twist.

I do wish that some of the book had been written from Oliver's perspective. This would have been a good book to see things from both Emmy and Oliver's point of view. He went through so much and I was most curious about how he was dealing with all the emotions of finding out his mom hadn't left him all those years ago. That the person who raised him and cared for him all those years had been the criminal. I think that would be a hard thing to wrap your brain around. I do think that even though it was written from Emmy's perspective, the author was able to deal with those issues in a satisfying way.

I guess my one complaint about this book, as it is with many of the young adult genre, is that there was drinking, mention of drugs (marijuana, in this case) and some references to sex. Now I know many teenagers deal with these issues. That it is a normal part of life but I kind of don't like how every teen novel makes them seem like perfectly acceptable things to be doing. Call me old fashioned.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this story. It was a good read that kept my interest through out and a very unique story line.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Bands Of Mourning


The Bands of Mourning
By Brandon Sanderson

It should come as no surprise that I really enjoyed this book. This is the 6th book in the Mistborn series. This continues to be one of my all time favorite series.

This book is such a fun mix of fantasy, steampunk, western and sci fi. That may sound like a strange mix but it turns out that it makes for a great story. Their world is so different from ours yet so similar at the same time. It makes for a fascinating read.

This book made me love the Characters even more then I already do. They are each so unique and really bring the story to life. I think my favorite is Wayne. I love the way he can be anybody he wants just by changing how he talks and the way he dresses. Plus he sees the world so much differently then everybody else. He is a really fun character. I have also really grown to like Steris and her obsessive over preparation. Her character was really allowed to grow in this book which I thought really added some depth to the story.

I thought that the direction the story took was really interesting and now I can't wait to read the next book in the series. To bad I will have to wait a while because it isn't written yet.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Childhood


A couple weeks ago I learned that one of our our favorite children author's had passed away. I was saddened by this news. Anna Dewdney wrote all the delightful Llama Llama books. We adore Llama Llama at out house and have quite the collection to prove it.



She had requested that instead of a funeral, that people read to a child. We were happy to honer her memory by reading some of our favorite Llama Llama books together. My favorite is Llama Llama mad at Mama. What's your favorite?



Speaking of children and childhood, I was wondering around my children's book fair and came across this Gem, Wait Till Helen Comes, by Mary Downing Hall. It made me so happy to see it sitting there on that shelf. I bought it almost 30 years ago at my elementary book fair and it still sits on my shelf to this day. It was my very first ghost story and I was addicted to Ghost stories for years after. I've read so many now but this one will always remain my favorite.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Bourne Identity


The Bourne Identity
by Robert Ludlum

Both my husband and I really like the Bourne Movies. We had a Bourne Movie marathon a month or so ago to get ready for the new one that just came out. As we were watching the movies it inspired me to try reading one of the books. I thought I might learn more about Bourne and his past in more detail then was given in the movies.

Well it turns out that the book and the movie have very little in common. And for once I enjoyed the movie more then the book. Things that are similar: he is found floating at sea, injured and with no memories, he goes to a bank in Zurich, there is an organization called Treadstone, he meets and falls in love with Marie. Things that are different: his past, his purpose before he lost his memory and basically everything else in the movie.

I did not love the writing in this book and had a really hard time getting through it. It was very slow moving and a little bit repetitive. The ending was anti-climatic and I kind of wish there had been a little more closure. Of course then there probably couldn't have been other books in the series. But what bothered me the most in this book was how quickly Marie seemed to forget how brutal he was to her. One minute she was terrified of him and the next she was madly in love. He hurt her physically, threatened to killer, basically kidnapped her and abused her and the next thing you know she has falling in love with him, just because he came back and saved her life. I just didn't buy it. There needed to be more development of their love story.

Things I did find interesting was the story behind his creation and purpose. It was a very interesting concept and I kind of wish now that they had stuck to that in the movie. It is the main reason that I finish the book. I just really wanted him to learn the truth so he would stop feeling so guilty about being an assassin, thinking he had done some terrible things.

I don't plan on reading the rest of the books in this series. I will just stick to the movies from now on.



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Sword of Summer


Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer
by Rick Riordan


First of all, I loved this dedication at the beginning of his book. I have to admit that whenever I hear the name Magnus the first person I think of is Magnus Bane from Cassandra Clara's books.

This was a really fun read. I think this may be my favorite of all Rick Riordan's books that I've read. I mean I love Percy and Annabeth, but I just really loved the style of writing in this book. The main character had a great sense of humor and that stayed true through out the entire novel. I kind of loved how he was able to keep a good attitude and his humor, despite facing some really hard things. It's a great way to live your life. Even the Titles for each chapter were humorous. It just made it more fun.

I liked all the characters and found all the Norse mythology fascinating. The only knowledge I have at all about Norse Mythology comes from the Thor Movies (I know, I know, not a great source) so this was a really great way to get a better look into it.

If you are looking for a fun, quick read this is a great choice.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Shadows of Shelf


Shadows of Self; A Mistborn Novel
by Brandon Sanderson

It should come as no surprise to you that I loved this book. I know I have said this in the past but Brandon Sanderson is a fantastic writer. His characters are well developed and the story is complex yet still easy to follow.

This is the fifth book in the Mistborn series or second book of the second sequence of books set in the same world. (hahaha, was that a confusing sentence.) It follows the same characters of the last book, about a year after those events. It has been quite a while since I read the last one and even longer since I read the original 3 in the series but it was easy for me to keep up with the characters and what was going on. I do kind of wish I had reread the first 4 before this, only because it really made me want to read them again.

I liked that this book stuck with the steampunk feel from the last book and I have to say these are probably my favorite books written in that style. I've read a few others but they just weren't quite as riveting as this series. I also liked that some of the characters and elements from the first 3 Mistborn novels made an appearance in these books. Even though these take place hundreds of years later, I think anyone who loved the Mistborn series will also love the second series he has created in this world. And those fans will love seeing some familiar faces!

I will definitely getting the last book in this series ASAP.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Raven Boys


The Raven Boys
Maggie Stiefvater

I picked this book up because it has a lot of good reviews on Goodreads and I liked some of this author's other books. Her books tend to have supernatural elements so I thought this could be interesting and I was excited to give it a try. Unfortunately I did not enjoy this book at all.

I did think the characters were interesting and the plot had promise but I just really disliked the style of writing. It felt like it was kind of all over the place. I never felt fully immersed in the story. I think it was suppose to make the story feel mysterious but it just felt vague and disjointed. It was a strange story that I just really couldn't get into.

I managed to finish it but just barely and now I'm not sure if it was worth it because it's the first in a series and I have no desire to read the rest. Now I won't ever know if they find what they are looking for or if Gansey lives or dies. Oh well... time to move on to something better.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A MONSTER CALLS - Official Trailer [HD] - In Theaters October 2016







I had no idea they were making this book into a movie. I am so excited. It looks gorgeous. I hope it is as amazing as it looks... I cry every time I watch the trailer. This story deals with grief so beautifully.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Candymakers


The Candymakers
by Wendy Mass

This was a fun book about 4 kids who enter a contest to create a new candy. At first I had a hard time really getting into this story but as I learned more about the characters it got more interesting.

The story is told from the perspective of each contestant. The first person we get to follow is the Candymaker's son. I found the story got a lot more interesting once it switched to the other kids' points of view. For each contestant, the story started back at the beginning, when they all first met so you basically read about the same 2 days 4 times. It was neat to read about the same events but from each kid's perspective. It really is a great illustration of how your perspective can truly change how events are viewed. It is so easy to judge others and their actions when you don't know them or what they are going through.

I know some have compared this to Charlie and Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl but I don't feel like there is really a comparison here. The only similarities are that they story takes place at a Candy Factory.

This is definitely geared towards children so for me the writing just wasn't that exciting. But I think this would be a really fun book for a younger crowd.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Furiously Happy


Furiously Happy
Jenny Lawson

A few years ago a read a blog about a giant metal rooster, doorbell ditching and hiding in bushes, which was one of the funniest blogs I had ever come across. I couldn't stop laughing. It was just so funny. It was writing by Jenny Lawson, also know as the Bloggess, and I knew then that I could completely relate to her sense of humor. I came across this book a few weeks ago at the Library and knew that I needed to read it.

This book is a collection of essays about her experience of dealing with her mental illnesses. While I don't sufferer from what she does, I still found her stories very relatable and also eye opening. It was nice to have some one so willing to share about their struggles. Especially about a subject that there is so much stigma around. It's time that we started treating people with mental illness better and remembering that it is just like any other medical condition. We wouldn't tell someone with Cancer just suck it up and get over it. So why is that the reaction to mental illness so much of the time?

I found her stories and antidotes to be hilarious. Laugh out loud funny. My husband and kids gave me weird looks several times as I found myself laughing at something she wrote. This book about mental illness was  really positive, up lifting. I think she does a great job of encouraging others to live their lives furiously happy. There will be hard day, weeks, months but she points out that things will get better, then worse, then better and in we need to live those happy moments to the fullest. One of my favorite points she made was to not compare ourselves to others and judge ourselves to harshly. Sometimes just getting out of bed is enough. We don't have to be supermom, all the time or really anytime. We just need to keep on living!

So if you need a good laugh or a new perspective about living with mental illness, this is the perfect book for you. She definitely has somewhat of an irreverent sense of humor. She doesn't take things too seriously and she isn't afraid to laugh at herself. I find her humor and view of life refreshing.  She does use quite a bit of strong language in her stories. It seems like comedians often feel like using the F- word makes them funnier, which I don't really get. So if that bothers you've been warned.

But seriously if you need a good laugh go read this book!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Library of Souls


Library of Souls: The Third Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

This is the third book in this series and I really liked where this story ended up going. It was a great conclusion for this series and I was left feeling very happy with how it all turned out. This is an important part of the ending of a series so I am glad that it ended well.

I did struggle some getting through the book. Especially in the beginning. The writing didn't always so a good job of keeping my attention so I found myself skimming at times just to move forward in the book. It didn't start moving along a little better towards the end and I found all the parts about Devil's Acre to be a really interesting aspect of their world. I would say that I definitely liked this book better then the second, but the first book is still by far the best book in this series.

Once again the old photos were fascinating. I really loved looking at them and I like how he continues to incorporate them into his books. Although it did feel a little more forced in this book. Like they were more random photos that he snuck into the plot here and there. It didn't feel quite as natural of a fit as the first book, if that makes sense.

This was a unique series and I look forward to seeing the movie now.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Girl On the Train


The Girl On the Train
by Paula Hawkins

I saw a preview for a movie based on this book and it made me curious enough that I checked it out form the library to see what all the hype was about. As I was leaving the library some one saw me holding the book and told me that it was a good read so I was excited to give it a read.

This is a story about a women who goes missing and the people who may know what happened. When I first started reading this book I was unsure about how I was going to like this book. The style of writing was a bit choppy and the character wasn't very likable. It took me a few more chapters to really get into this story but once I did, I couldn't put this book down. This was a great suspenseful story and kept me thinking at every turn of the plot. Unfortunately there really aren't any likable characters but that just means more suspects in the women's disappearance. I love trying to solve mysteries and even though I had my suspicions early on in the book, this story kept me on my toes.

This was a good read and I would definitely watch the movie after reading this book. I think it would make a great suspense/thriller. I really liked the ending and thought it wrapped up the story well.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Stars Above


Stars Above
by Marissa Meyer

For those who have read and enjoyed the Lunar Chronicle series, this was a fun collection of stories. I loved reading more about the past experiences of the different characters. The things that made them who they are and shaped their destiny. I loved getting more of a glimpse into their past, before they became a part of Cinder's story. There was also one story that takes place after the events of the final book, Winter. Anyone who loved these book will really appreciate that story. I don't want to give it away but it was perfect!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

BFG





My boys have been talking about The BFG movie for months now. They have been so excited to see it, especially after we read the book out loud together. This past week they reminded me everyday that it was in theaters starting Friday the first and that we needed to go see it. Well we didn't make it Friday but I did take them Saturday night. The boys loved it and I thought they did a great job turning one of my all time favorite kid novels into a movie. The film was beautifully done and the scenes were gorgeous, especially when The BFG and Sophie are in dream country.  There was the perfect amount of boy humor (farting) and I loved the sweet ending. Now my boys would be the first to point out all the differences from the book to the movie but that didn't keep us from enjoying the show. I didn't feel like the changes took away from the of the story and it was a sweet, fun movie to watch with my kids!


Monday, June 20, 2016

A Monster Calls


A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness

There are so many things I want to say about this book. This was a fantastically written story. It touched my heart and I won't soon forget it.

This book started as a concept by the Author, Siobhan Dowd, who died of cancer before she could write the book. Patrick Ness was asked to write the story in her place and I am so glad he choose to take on this task. This was such a great book and I feel like everyone could gain something by reading this book.

This book is a bout a thirteen year old boy whose mother is being treated for Cancer. He begins to be visited by a monster, who tells him three stories. I loved this concept. What a brilliant way to approach the topic of cancer.

I absolutely loved the stories that the monster tells and the lessons the boy needs to learn. It shows that we often are faced with conflicting emotions that are hard to reconcile. It deals with all the emotions you can image a young boy facing, whose mother has cancer. I cried. a lot. It was just such a touching story.

I would also like to add that the illustrations are the perfect addition to this book. They are dark, creepy and haunting. They add so much and really reflect the feelings being portrayed in this novel.

I would highly recommend this book. It is so beautifully written. You don't want to miss this one.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Go Set a Watchman


Go Set a Watchman
by Harper Lee

I have been wanting to read this book for a while. I was curious to see what happened to all the characters in To Kill A Mocking Bird and to read the second book written by Harper Lee.

Unfortunately I really did not enjoy reading this book. It was really hard for me to get through and I just found it very uninteresting. The style of writing was hard for me to follow. She cuts back and forth between the past and present and it made for a very choppy read. I've read other books that jump between the past and present that transitioned much smoother. I found myself wanting to skim through parts of this book and felt like I didn't really understand everything she talked about.

I didn't think there were any likable characters in the book. I wasn't even a fan of Scout. Why does a strong women have to be portrayed as thoughtless and pushy. I don't think that to be considered strong and independent that a women needs to be high handed or unkind.

I was also disappointed it the plot. Nothing really happened in the book and I felt like the story really didn't go anywhere. Scout discovers something about her father that upsets her and she finds unforgivable but in the end she decides she still loves him. That's the entire book.

The one good thing I can say about this book was that it was an interesting look at Racism in the South at that time. A way to understand how they were feeling about changing world around them. The fight for State rights versus Federal rules. I thought it was a good look into the mind of a group of people who grew up believing they were better then Blacks.

And I liked the chapter where Scout talks to her uncle about her fight with her Father. I like how she discovers that she can still love her father even if they don't always see things eye to eye. She grew up believing that everything her father believed  she also believe, so it was shocking for her to learn that wasn't necessarily true. I think that was a very insightful discovery. That it is important to be our own individual and not let our identity be defined by somebody else.

So there I did get something out of this book but it was still very hard to get through. I can't say that I liked the book but I didn't totally hate it either...




Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Turtle of Oman


The Turtle of Oman
by Naomi Shihab Nye

My oldest came home on his last day of second grade with a list of book recommendations for third grade. He has struggled some this year with reading comprehension so I wanted to get him reading more and thinking about what he read. This was one of the books on his list so we checked out from the Library so he could give it a go.

I was curious what types of books were recommended for third graders so I decided to read it myself also. I actually really enjoyed this book. It was a sweet tale of a young boy who is moving to America from Oman. He spends the last week in Oman with his Grandfather visiting and exploring the places they love best. He loved his home and did not want to leave it and his grandfather did his best to help prepare him for his big move. I thought the emotions in this story were very real and relatable. This would be a great book for a child to read who might be facing a move of their own. I also thought it was a great introduction to a different country and culture. It really shows that no matter where we are from, we aren't so different after all. We may have grown up loving different foods, different adventures and different people but we all have those special connections in our lives that make us who we are.

I wish I could say that my son enjoyed this book just as much but he had a hard time understanding what was going on. I think this book maybe still be a little too difficult for him to read. He just wasn't that interested in the story. He also tends to gravitate towards fantasy type books so we switched back to his favorite Magic Tree House Books to help get him more motivated to read and make his reading comprehension a little easier to learn. If you have any other suggestions of books that may be good for him to try, I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Spiderwick

The boys and I recently finished reading the Spiderwick Chronicles out loud together. They really enjoyed reading the books and when they heard there was a movie they asked to see it. Last week I checked it out of the library so we could watch it together. The most amusing thing about watching this movie was watching the boys discover how different movies can be from the books they are based on. They kept point out all the things that were different through out the movie.